Star Coffee Writing about stuff, working in public

On Daily Working Spaces in Personal Knowldege Management

Discussing a useful feature and some good implementations of it in PKM tools

Photo by Esaias Tan

Hello and welcome back to Star Coffee. In this post I am switching gears and writing about a different topic I am interested in, personal knowledge management (PKM) tools. Specifically, I want to discuss the idea of "daily working spaces" (DWS) in PKM applications.

I am defining "daily working spaces" as spaces within a PKM application to dump notes, knowledge, ideas, tasks, etc. without much concern for organization. These spaces function as an inbox for you to get whatever you want down into your knowledge system and focus on organizing those notes later. They are typically ephemeral areas used for a specific day, and can be largely forgetten about later.

As PKM has been gaining more and more popularity in recent years, we have been seeing a large influx of new applications coming out and bringing new ideas to the PKM space. As a fan and user of these tools, I believe that having a good DWS system is a core requirement for any decent PKM tool.

I will not be going in depth on what each app is or how it's unique, I will be mainly focusing on how each app implements a DWS system.

Why are Daily Working Spaces Useful?

A DWS allows one to quickly document anything they need without having to think much about organization. It is incredibly easy to just write as opposed to figuring out where a note needs to exist before actually writing it down. A DWS gives you an area to get your knowledge externalized and worry about how that knowledge fits into your system later, allowing you to focus on act of knowledge synthesis first.

Obviously everyone is different, but I and many others in the PKM space find DWSs incredibly useful, and we would definitely be put off from using a tool that doesn't incorporate this feature.

Good Examples

Now I will be going into a couple applications that I have used/continue to use that I believe provide good or unique implementations of a DWS. I will also be comparing each implementation to Obsidian, the main PKM app I currently use.

Roam Research and Logseq

Roam Research was the first PKM app I really got into back in January of 2020. I have used it pretty regularly up until December 2022, when I switched primarily to using Obsidian. I will not get into the reasons for my switch, however I do really miss the daily notes feature that Roam implemented:

Some old daily notes from my Roam graph.

In Roam, individual daily notes are displayed in a vertical timeline view, allowing you to easily scroll through your daily notes in succession. This provides a very intuitive method of quickly browsing through your recent daily notes. I found it quite useful to quickly scroll down and review the notes I took earlier in the week. I include Logseq in this section as well as its daily notes area is very similar to Roam's.

Yes, anyone who uses Obsidian knows that it has daily notes as well, however Obsidian does not have a dedicated space for daily notes like Roam does. Just like any other note in Obsidian, you must browse through your daily notes individually.


Scrintal is a new tool (for me) that I have begun playing around with. Unlike Roam/Logseq (graph-based outliners) and Obsidian (purely document-based), Scrintal is a purely visual, document-based note-taking app.

Some of my notes in Scrintal on creativity.

I think Scrintal implements the best DWS that I personally have used thus far. Scrintal has daily notes just like Roam and Obsidian, but it also has a separate space called the Desk where you can take and arrange notes, documents, images, links, and boards:

How my Scrintal desk looks like as I write this post.

Unlike Roam/Logseq, the Desk is a DWS but it is not purely for daily notes, other notes can be arranged on the Desk. The desk is special because it is intended to function as an ephemeral working space focused on taking and organizing notes in the present context, afterwards clearing them off or organizing them as you finish your work. You are able to write daily notes, take new notes, bring in existing notes, add reference documents/links, etc. all in one space, and organize everything after you're done.

Scrintal is the most "analog" feeling note-taking app I have used so far, and I really enjoy using it. Using the Desk space feels very natural, and is a unique take on a DWS.

See the following video to see some more on how the Desk functions: Scrintal Boards vs Desk

Thoughts on Obsidian

While I really enjoy using Obsidian and do use it as my main PKM application, I think its implementation of a DWS is the worst I've used. Obsidian has daily notes, but no unique way of interacting/viewing them that Roam/Logseq has, nor a useful, ephemeral working space similar to Scrintal. While Obsidian recently introduced its Canvas feature, allowing for visual note-taking similar to Scrintal (and recreating a Desk space), its usage and functionality is not as refined as Scrintal.

However, Obsidian more than makes up for its lack of a unique DWS with its other features and capabilities, which is why I use it and plan to continue using it as my main PKM tool. Currently, I am also supplementing my PKM system with Scrintal, as it fills the visual note-taking niche a lot better than Obsidian.


Thanks for reading! I plan on writing more about tools for thought and PKM if anyone is interested, and hopefully getting back into more aerospace-related topics soon. Until next time.

Appendix: Personal Updates

I am not sure if anyone keeps up with my blog, but those that do may have noticed a long hiatus. I honestly burned out a bit with programming and writing my blog posts, so I took a break. At the same time, my mental health hasn't been the greatest so it was hard to motivate myself to push posts out.

Recently however, things have been going pretty well for me. I finally found a job in the aerospace field (after searching for over a year after graduating), moved out of my parents' house, and am doing better mentally. I am slowly trying to get back into the groove of being an average functioning person, which includes writing on this blog again. I have been itching to write, so I decided to write about this topic to change things up and try writing on a new topic I am interested in. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I plan to write more soon.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Michal Jagodzinski. Last modified: May 09, 2024.
Website built with Franklin.jl and the Julia programming language.